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What are the penalties for breaking safety law?

Penalties for employers include a fine, or, in some cases, imprisonment or losing the right to be a company director. The HSE names and shames employers guilty of criminal offences.

In 2008, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force. This Act is supposed to make it easier to prosecute companies and other large organisations when serious failures in health and safety management have caused a death.

Sentencing guidance published in February 2010 said that fines for organisations found guilty of corporate manslaughter should be measured in millions of pounds, and should generally not be below £500,000. Even so, the latest and only fifth  prosecution for corporate manslaughter  was recently made against Prince’s Sporting Club. The Club was found guilty of the offence  in November 2013,  resulted in a fine of only £135,000, after an 11-year-old died at the Club.